1979 in baseball

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The following are the baseball events of the year 1979 throughout the world.

List of years in baseball

Champions[edit]

Major League Baseball[edit]

  League Championship Series
NBC
World Series
ABC
                 
East Baltimore Orioles 3  
West California Angels 1  
    AL Baltimore Orioles 3
  NL Pittsburgh Pirates 4
East Pittsburgh Pirates 3
West Cincinnati Reds 0  

Other champions[edit]

Winter Leagues

Awards and honors[edit]

MLB statistical leaders[edit]

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Fred Lynn BOS .333 Keith Hernandez STL .344
HR Gorman Thomas MIL 45 Dave Kingman CHC 48
RBI Don Baylor CAL 139 Dave Winfield SDP 118
Wins Mike Flanagan BAL 23 Joe Niekro HOU
Phil Niekro ATL
21
ERA Ron Guidry NYY 2.78 J. R. Richard HOU 2.71

Major league baseball final standings[edit]

Events[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

  • October 17 – In Game Seven of the World Series, Willie Stargell hits his third home run of the Series to send the Pittsburgh Pirates to their third straight win over the Baltimore Orioles, to win the World Series Championship. Stargell wins Series MVP honors. The Pirates came back from a deficit of 3 games-to-1.
  • October 23 – Yankee manager Billy Martin gets into a barroom fight with Joseph Cooper, a marshmallow salesman from Minnesota. Six days later, Martin is fired from the Yankees and replaced with Dick Howser.

November[edit]

  • November 13 – For the first time ever, there will be League co-MVPs as Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals shares the National League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award with Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stargell is the oldest person to win this award (since broken by Barry Bonds in 2004). The Pirates have thus won (or shared) all four "Most Valuable Player" awards for the season (All-Star Game, National League Championship Series, World Series, and National League regular season). This is the first such sweep in Major League history (Stargell had won the awards for the NLCS, World Series, and National League regular season, while teammate Dave Parker won the All-Star Game award).
  • November 20 – California Angels outfielder and DH Don Baylor wins the American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting .296 with 36 home runs and a major league-leading 120 runs scored and 139 runs batted in. Baylor receives 20 of 28 first-place votes to become the first Angel ever to win MVP honors.
  • November 26 – Third baseman John Castino, who batted .285 for the Minnesota Twins, and shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who hit .287 for the Toronto Blue Jays, tie for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, each receiving seven of the 28 first-place votes. The deadlock precipitates a change in the voting system, effective in 1980.
  • November 28 – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, who posted a 17–10 record with a 3.46 ERA for a sub-.500 team, receives 20 of first-place 24 votes to earn the National League Rookie of the Year honors. Right fielders Jeffrey Leonard of the Houston Astros (3) and Scot Thompson of the Chicago Cubs (1) receive the other votes.

December[edit]

Movies[edit]

Births[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

Deaths[edit]

January[edit]

  • January 4 – Bobby Murray, 80, third baseman in ten games for 1923 Washington Senators
  • January 5 – George Washburn, 64, pitcher who spent 16 years in minor leagues, but appeared in only one major-league game, on May 4, 1941, for the New York Yankees
  • January 9 – Hinkey Haines, 80, professional baseball and football player; played 12 minor-league campaigns and a single major-league season, appearing in 28 games as an outfielder and pinch runner for 1923 American League champion New York Yankees, then two games in 1923 World Series, helping the Yankees win their first world title; in his final MLB contest, in Game 6, he pinch ran during the Yanks' eighth-inning, Series-deciding rally, scoring tying run; played as a halfback in the National Football League for two teams, including the New York football Giants, between 1925 and 1932
  • January 9 – Charley Stis, 94, who spent more than six decades in professional baseball as a player, manager, scout and umpire
  • January 21 – Sam Leslie, 73, line drive-hitting first baseman who played in 822 games over all or part of ten seasons for the New York Giants (1929–1933 and 1936–1938) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1933–1935); batted .304 lifetime with 749 career hits
  • January 25 – Charlene Barnett, 50, who played second base in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1949 to 1952 and was a member of three champion teams
  • January 26 – Nemo Gaines, 81, left-handed pitcher and U.S. Naval Academy graduate who threw 423 innings of shutout relief in four appearances for the Washington Senators in the midsummer of 1921; left baseball to return to active duty with the U.S. Navy, where he rose to the rank of captain and retired after World War II
  • January 29 – Andy Harrington, 75, minor league infielder between 1925 and 1942, who made one appearance in the majors, going hitless in one at bat as a pinch hitter for the Detroit Tigers on April 18, 1925

February[edit]

  • February 1 – Milt Byrnes, 62, outfielder in 390 career games for 1943–1945 St. Louis Browns; member of 1944 American League champions, the only St. Louis-based team to conquer the Junior Circuit
  • February 7 – Warren Giles, 82, Hall of Fame baseball executive; president of the National League from 1951 to 1969; previously, general manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 1937 to 1951; father of longtime executive Bill Giles
  • February 8 – Alex Gaston, 85, catcher for the New York Giants (1920–1923) and Boston Red Sox (1926 and 1929) who got into 215 major-league games; brother of pitcher Milt Gaston, whose no-hitter Alex broke up with a seventh-inning single on September 12, 1926
  • February 8 – Art Williams, 44, the first black umpire in the National League, working from 1972 to 1977 including the 1975 NLCS
  • February 12 – Bill Vargus, 79, southpaw hurler for 1925–1926 Boston Braves, appearing in 15 games
  • February 26 – Forrest Thompson, 60, left-handed pitcher who worked in 55 career games for the Washington Senators (1948–1949)

March[edit]

  • March 2 – Dale Alexander, 75, first baseman who batted .331 in five seasons with the Tigers and Red Sox, winning the 1932 batting title, before an injury ended his career; later a longtime scout
  • March 23 – Don Osborn, 70, longtime minor league pitcher and manager who served three terms as pitching coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates between 1963 and 1976; member of 1971 World Series champions
  • March 29 – Luke Easter, 63, first baseman in the Negro leagues, then with Cleveland Indians (1949–1954); slugged 86 home runs with 307 RBI over his first three full MLB seasons (1950–1952); spent one season, 1969, as Cleveland's hitting coach
  • March 31 – Bob Schultz, 55, left-handed pitcher who worked in 65 games over four big-league campaigns with the Chicago Cubs (1951–1953), Pittsburgh Pirates (1953) and Detroit Tigers (1955)

April[edit]

  • April 3 – Harry Simpson, 53, outfielder and first baseman who led the AL in triples twice during his eight-year career with five clubs between 1951 and 1959
  • April 6 – Al Evans, 62, catcher in 704 games in a dozen MLB seasons, 11 of them for the Washington Senators (1939–1942 and 1944–1950); later a minor league manager
  • April 6 – Rudy Kallio, 86, pitcher who hurled in 49 contests for the Detroit Tigers (1918–19) and Boston Red Sox (1925); later a coach for Triple-A Portland Beavers and scout for the Chicago Cubs
  • April 11 – Eddie Wilson, 69, outfielder who was hitting .347 in 52 games as a rookie for 1936 Brooklyn Dodgers when his skull was fractured by a beanball, August 26; returned to Dodgers in 1937 but only played in 36 more games, and spent the rest of his 13-year career in the minors, retiring in 1941
  • April 12 – Sam Edmonston, 95, Washington Senators pitcher who logged three innings in his only big-league game, on June 24, 1907 against Philadelphia; at his death, the oldest living former MLB player
  • April 13 – Frankie Kelleher, 62, outfielder in 47 games for 1942–1943 Cincinnati Reds; became mainstay of the minor-league Hollywood Stars, playing ten seasons for them (1944 and 1946–1954) and earning a spot in the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame
  • April 18 – Lindsay Deal, 67, pinch hitter and outfielder who made it into four games for the 1939 Brooklyn Dodgers
  • April 21 – Cliff Bolton, 72, lefty-swinging catcher and pinch hitter for the Washington Senators (1931, 1933–1936 and 1941) and Detroit Tigers (1937); batted .410 in a part-time role for 1933 American League champions (.429 as a pinch hitter) and .291 lifetime with 280 hits in 335 career MLB games
  • April 27 – Jim Mooney, 72, left-handed hurler who worked in 92 games for the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals from 1931 to 1934; member of 1934 World Series champion "Gashouse Gang" Cardinals; longtime college baseball coach
  • April 29 – John Allyn, 61, Chicago business executive involved in ownership of the White Sox from 1961 until his death; co-owner (with his brother Arthur Jr.) from 1961–1969, owner and club president from 1969–1975, and minority owner and member of Bill Veeck's syndicate since 1975
  • April 30 – Wally Kopf, 79, third baseman and second baseman who appeared in two career games for 1921 New York Giants; brother of Larry Kopf

May[edit]

  • May 3 – Tom Jenkins, 81, outfielder who appeared in 171 total games for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns over six seasons between 1925 and 1932
  • May 5 – Bill Lucas, 43, general manager of the Atlanta Braves since September 1976 and the first African-American general manager in MLB history; previously, a player and executive in the Braves' organization since 1957
  • May 6 – Al "Ace" Elliott, 81, first baseman in 63 total games for 1923–1924 Chicago Cubs
  • May 6 – Charlie Ripple, 56, left-handed pitcher who worked in 11 games in three brief stints with the 1944–1946 Philadelphia Phillies
  • May 6 – Bunny Roser, 77, outfielder in 32 games for the 1922 Boston Braves
  • May 7 – Marty McHale, 92, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians between 1910 and 1916, working in 64 career games; appeared on vaudeville stage during off-seasons
  • May 9 – Charlie Hargreaves, 82, catcher in 423 games for the Brooklyn Robins and Pittsburgh Pirates between 1923 and 1930
  • May 12 – Clyde Kluttz, 61, catcher, scout and executive; appeared in 656 MLB games for six clubs (1942–1948 and 1951–1952); scouted for Kansas City Athletics (signing teenaged pitcher Catfish Hunter) and New York Yankees; then, during his term as Yankees' director of scouting/player development, he recruited free agent Hunter to the Bombers after the 1974 season; moved to Baltimore Orioles as vice president/player development, serving from 1976 until his death
  • May 18 – Ray Blades, 82, left fielder, manager, coach and scout; batted .301 in 767 career games for the St. Louis Cardinals between 1922 and 1932; played on four NL pennant-winners and 1926 and 1931 World Series champions; managed Redbirds from 1939 to June 6, 1940; coached for Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs for a dozen seasons between 1930 and 1956
  • May 23 – Hiroshi Oshita, 56, Hall of Fame first baseman who played for the Toei Flyers from 1946 to 1951 and the Nishitetsu Lions from 1952 to 1959
  • May 29 – Sig Jakucki, 69, hot-tempered pitcher for St. Louis Browns (1936 and 1944–1945) who hurled a complete-game victory on October 1, 1944, to seal the only American League pennant the St. Louis entry ever won; lost his only decision in 1944 World Series; known for alcoholism and brawling, he was kicked off the 1945 Browns on September 1 and never returned to the major leagues
  • May 30 – Joe Smaza, 55, outfielder who played two games for the Chicago White Sox in September 1946

June[edit]

  • June 8 – Muriel Coben, 58, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League pitcher, and member of a Canadian women's curling champion team
  • June 11 – Fred Martin, 63, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals (1946, 1949–1950) who appeared in 57 career games; later a minor league manager and pitching instructor for the Chicago Cubs, where he taught the split-finger fastball to eventual Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter; was pitching coach of the Chicago White Sox at the time of his passing
  • June 12 – Bill Brenzel, 69, catcher who appeared in nine games for 1932 Pittsburgh Pirates and 67 contests for 1934–1935 Cleveland Indians; later, a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1948 to 1950 and the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1951 until his death
  • June 17 – Duffy Lewis, 91, left fielder for the Boston Red Sox from 1910 to 1917 who starred on three champions (1912, 1915, 1916) and mastered Fenway Park's sloping left field; also played for Yankees and Senators between 1919 and 1921; longtime traveling secretary of the Boston and Milwaukee Braves
  • June 18 – Hal Trosky, 66, first baseman for the Cleveland Indians between 1933 and 1941 whose career was shortened by persistent migraine headaches; led American League in run batted in 1936 with 162; batted .302 lifetime with 228 home runs and six 100-RBI seasons; his son briefly pitched in majors
  • June 29 – Johnny Bassler, 84, good-hitting catcher who appeared in 44 games for the 1913–1914 Cleveland Naps and 767 contests for the 1921–1927 Detroit Tigers, batting .304 lifetime in 2,319 at bats; coached with Cleveland and the St. Louis Browns between 1938 and 1941
  • June 29 – Steamboat Williams, 87, pitcher who worked in 36 career games for 1914 and 1916 St. Louis Cardinals

July[edit]

  • July 2 – Ed Stauffer, 81, pitcher in 21 total games for 1923 Chicago Cubs and 1925 St. Louis Browns
  • July 12 – Tom Lovelace, 81, pinch hit in one game with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1922
  • July 15 – John Holland, 69, longtime baseball executive; general manager of the Chicago Cubs from 1957 through 1975
  • July 22 – Amos Strunk, 90, center fielder for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox between 1908 and 1924; appeared in 1,512 games and was a member of four World Series champion teams (1910, 1911, 1913, 1918)
  • July 26 – Bill DeKoning, 60, catcher who played in three games (and was hitless in his lone at bat) for 1945 New York Giants

August[edit]

  • August 2 – Thurman Munson, 32, seven-time All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees since 1969 who batted .300 five times and won the 1976 MVP award; 1970 Rookie of the Year won three Gold Gloves and batted .357 in 30 postseason games; two-time (1977 and 1978) World Series champion
  • August 7 – Hal Wagner, 64, catcher who played 672 career games for Philadelphia Athletics (1937–1944), Boston Red Sox (1944–1947), Detroit Tigers (1947–1948) and Philadelphia Phillies (1948–1949); two-time American League All-Star
  • August 9 – Walter O'Malley, 75, principal owner of the Dodgers franchise from 1950 to 1975, and sole owner from 1975 until his death; moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles (1958) and constructed Dodger Stadium (opened 1962); during his tenure, the Dodgers won four World Series titles (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965); named to Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008, a half-century after moving his club to Los Angeles
  • August 14 – Mack Wheat, 86, weak-hitting backup catcher for Brooklyn Robins (1915–1919) and Philadelphia Phillies (1920–1921), playing in 225 total games; brother of Hall of Famer Zach Wheat
  • August 17 – Bill Grieve, 83, American League umpire from 1938 to 1955; worked in three World Series and two All-Star games
  • August 26 – Dizzy Sutherland, 57, left-handed hurler given a one-game audition with Washington Senators, September 20, 1949; starting against St. Louis, he walked six of the 11 batters he faced and surrendered five earned runs in one full inning pitched, to be tagged with Washington's 15–6 defeat

September[edit]

  • September 4 – Turkey Stearnes, 78, center fielder in the Negro leagues who led the Negro National League in home runs six times while batting .350
  • September 8 – Rick Joseph, 40, third baseman and first baseman who appeared in 270 career games for the 1964 Kansas City Athletics and 1967–1970 Philadelphia Phillies
  • September 16 – Charlie Deal, 87, third baseman who played 851 games for five MLB teams (including his Federal League service); started all four games of the 1914 World Series for the "Miracle" world-champion Boston Braves who was the last surviving member of that team; also the starter in the "hot corner" for the 1918 NL champion Chicago Cubs

October[edit]

  • October 4 – Fred Graf, 90, third baseman who had a 16-year career in the minor leagues, interrupted by a four-game trial with the 1913 St. Louis Browns
  • October 20 – Cy Slapnicka, 93, pitcher, scout and executive who spent 60 years in baseball; appeared in only ten total MLB games for 1911 Chicago Cubs and 1918 Pittsburgh Pirates, but became one of the most celebrated scouts of his day working for the Cleveland Indians; signed Hall of Famers Lou Boudreau, fellow Iowan Bob Feller and Bob Lemon among many other stars; general manager of the Indians from 1935 to 1940
  • October 22 – John Drebinger, 88, sportswriter for The New York Times for 41 years
  • October 29 – Mel Ingram, 75, whose entire pro baseball career consisted of three major-league games as a pinch runner for 1929 Pittsburgh Pirates; he scored one run

November[edit]

  • November 4 – Johnny Priest, 88, infielder who played ten total games in stints for the 1911–1912 New York Highlanders
  • November 4 – Lancelot "Yank" Terry, 68, pitcher who—despite his nickname—spent his entire MLB career with Boston Red Sox, appearing in 93 games over five seasons (1940 and 1942–1945)
  • November 15 – Ken Ash, 78, pitcher who appeared in two games for the 1925 Chicago White Sox and 53 contests for the 1928–1930 Cincinnati Reds
  • November 15 – Ed Klieman, 61, pitcher who worked in 222 games for the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics between 1943 and 1950
  • November 16 – Jack Butterfield, 50, vice president/player development and scouting of the New York Yankees and former head baseball coach of the University of Maine (1957–1974) and the University of South Florida (1975–1976); father of Brian Butterfield
  • November 16 – Joseph Iglehart, 88, investment banker, CBS stockholder and board member, and baseball club owner; joined Baltimore Orioles' ownership group in autumn of 1953, when the team moved from St. Louis; became the largest shareholder and served as board chairman from 1955 to 1964; sold his Orioles' stock to Jerold Hoffberger when CBS purchased the New York Yankees in 1964, then joined the Yankees' board of directors, serving until CBS sold the Bombers to George Steinbrenner's syndicate in 1973; continued as limited partner in Steinbrenner's group until he sold his interest in 1977
  • November 18 – Freddie Fitzsimmons, 78, knuckleball pitcher who won 217 games for the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers; manager of Philadelphia Phillies from July 28, 1943 to June 29, 1945; later, a longtime coach associated with manager Leo Durocher
  • November 28 – Herb Bremer, 66, second-string catcher who appeared in 70 games for the St. Louis Cardinals between 1937 and 1939

December[edit]

  • December 4 – Bert Delmas, 68, infielder who played 12 games for the 1933 Brooklyn Dodgers
  • December 14 – Vinnie Smith, 64, MLB catcher and umpire; appeared in 16 total games for Pittsburgh Pirates (1941 and 1946), then umpired in the National League from 1957 through 1965; officiated for the two All-Star Games played in 1960, and the 1964 World Series
  • December 15 – Stan Hack, 70, five-time All-Star third baseman for the Chicago Cubs who batted .301 lifetime and posted a .394 career on-base percentage, the highest of any 20th-century third baseman; scored 100 runs seven times and led NL in hits and steals twice each; as Cubs' manager (1954–1956) and interim skipper of St. Louis Cardinals (September 17 through end of 1958 season), compiled a 199–272 record
  • December 29 – Ed Albrecht, 50, pitcher and minor-league phenom who appeared in three total games for 1949–1950 St. Louis Browns; won 29 games (losing 12) with 389 strikeouts in 1949 for Pine Bluff of the Class C Cotton States League; called up by Browns in September, he threw a five-inning, one-hit victory against the White Sox on October 2 for his only MLB triumph (the game, although "official" because it lasted five full innings, was halted because of darkness and a Sunday curfew)